Pasta with Anchovies and Toasted Bread Crumbs (muddica atturata) is one of the simplest pasta dishes to make in Sicilian cuisine. The seasoning sauce (olive oil, garlic, and anchovy) takes 2 minutes to cook. Dinner ready in 20 minutes or less (if you toast the bread crumbs ahead of time)! How’s that for in a jiffy quick? Lightly browning the garlic in olive oil imparts a wonderful fragrance to this humble rustic dish. Don’t be put off by the anchovies. They melt while cooking and give this dish a distinctive salty flavor rather than fishy flavor. But the most important thing is to eat it in classic Sicilian style – with a generous dusting of toasted breadcrumbs for added crunch. If you’re a lover of anchovies like I am, you’ll love this pasta dish.
PASTA WITH ANCHOVIES AND TOASTED BREAD CRUMBS
(Pasta cu L’anciova è Muddica Atturata /Pasta con Acciughe è Pangrattato Abbrustolito)
Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 4 servings.
For the Toasted Bread Crumbs:
1 cup plain dry bread crumbs
3 tablespoons olive oil
For the Pasta:
1 pound dry spaghetti or linguine
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 to 6 flat fillets of anchovies, chopped
2 tablespoons salted butter
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese
MAKE THE TOASTED BREAD CRUMBS: Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in the breadcrumbs and cook stirring constantly until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and continue stirring for 1 minute longer to prevent burning. Residual heat from the pan will continue cooking the breadcrumbs. Be careful not to burn them.
*Can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container for several days.
MAKE THE PASTA: Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook to “al dente.” Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until it starts to turn golden brown.
Stir in the anchovy and cook until it disintegrates, about 1 minute. Stir in the butter and red pepper flakes.
Add the pasta and parsley into the skillet with the anchovy/garlic mixture and toss to coat. Add some of the cooking water if the pasta seems too dry. Season with salt and black pepper. Serve with Pecorino and toasted breadcrumbs.